Dee Caffari has been at sea for three weeks on her westabout global challenge mission. Here's her latest report sent last night at 2300
I am past Recife and heading just west of south down the Brazilian coast. Salvador is the next major city I shall pass along the way. I have sailed approximately 4,300 nautical miles since I said goodbye to Gunwharf Quays, exactly three weeks ago today.
The route now reminds me of the Global Challenge Race a year ago as we all headed to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The chart that I changed onto yesterday, that covers the South American Eastern shore line still had the positions of the fleet from the race. As I removed them to make way for Aviva’s course to be plotted, I realised that the first stop over of the race, which was only just over a year ago, seems like absolutely ages ago. So many miles have been covered since then, so many lessons learnt and so much has changed. However, here I am soon to sail by the Rio De La Plata and keep going with no good wine and amazing steaks to stock up on before heading to the Southern Ocean.
When we left Argentina all of us were unsure of what was to come. We were about to round the notorious Cape Horn and sail head first into the Southern Ocean. Apprehension and nervousness were in abundance. Even now a year on with an extra 30,000 miles under my belt on the same yacht, of which 12,000 miles were in the Southern Ocean, I am still feeling the apprehension and the nerves. Everyday I sail closer to the gateway to the South. It is an amazing piece of water – it can hold such beauty and just as easily such vengeance. It is always with utmost respect that one takes to the ocean, especially when sailing in its more remote areas.
I know that we are closer to our end goal, of arriving back to the UK. Unlike last weekend, when I was full of beans about my progress, this weekend I have found much harder to deal with the enormity of the voyage still ahead of me. It comes across in waves of emotion and simple things are the triggers.
I spent most of yesterday back with my water maker in pieces as this time the High Pressure Pump had finally decided to die in great style. This time I did need to change to the spare pump. A task which was not as easy as a straight swap, but a task that needed all the pipe fittings to be changed, the coupling to be transferred, and the pump to be filled with fresh oil.
Working methodically it still took me most of the afternoon. To remove the coupling whilst the dome housing was on, proved rather tricky and took all my patience and cunning. The end result was a fresh tank of water and I need to consider filling all my tanks now ready for the rest of the voyage just in case the water maker continues to be problematic. That would add an extra tonne of weight whilst in these lighter conditions is far from ideal, however, it would save a lot of stress. Thinking about decisions such as that, really keeps bringing it home to me the amount of time Aviva and I are out here.
I am guessing that how I am feeling emotionally has a lot to do with how tired I am. Saturday night I had little sleep as the sky was full of one black cloud after another coming across on the radar screen, Sunday followed a similar pattern so in between sections of water maker repair the radar alarm would sound and up on deck I would go and adjust the trim as the cloud passed overhead. Sunday was pretty cloudy all day and so I have got used to it now, but it made it very hot to work in.
We shall see what the night holds and hope I can get some more rest.
Dee and Aviva